After a great 3 hour comedy show, Jerry Lewis was about to come out to accept "The Jerry Lewis Award," but he collapsed on stage, making international news. But the story is much more than that. It's a true story of friendship and love of two comedians from two different generations. One super-famous; one, just a working comic. And, when these two giant personalities with crazy reputations collide, watch out! Sparks will fly! And, ultimately, love will reign.
"I Eat People Like YOU for Breakfast!" premiered at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2003 at The Gilded Balloon to great reviews. "Breakfast" is the true story of how I grew up in a Beverly Hills showbiz family, became a stand-up in the heyday of The Comedy Store, started doing "farewell performances", moving to London and establishing myself finally as a credible "you gotta see this guy" kind of act.
London brought me great success. It was like going through the looking-glass, where everything was backwards. In August 2,000 I created and produced the first "High On Laughter", a comedy charity show for Turning Point Scotland, a drug and alcohol charity launched by Princess Diana. It was so successful, we did it again the following year at the 3,300-seat Edinburgh Playhouse, then in 2002 at the legendary London Palladium. 15 British and American comedians and a one Jerry Lewis.
Jerry came to London to be honored by me by accepting "The Jerry Lewis Award". Everything was set in place including television cameras to capture the magic. After a great evening of great comedy from the likes of Rick Overton, Paul Provenza, Earl Okin, Emo Philips, Bobcat Goldthwait, Zach Galifiniakis, Jim Gaffigan, Shelagh Martin, Boothby Graffoe and me, all hell broke loose. Suddenly, without warning Jerry Lewis collapsed backstage, just as he was being introduced, creating one of the most talked about dramatic moments ever, literally making international news.
As the mystery unraveled, information about Jerry's past began to emerge and I found myself caught in a vortex of bizarre inquisition. Everybody was asking me the same thing: "Did Jerry Lewis fake his collapse?" A question I still cannot answer to this day. The following year, I created the one-man show with comedian and poet John Dowie and premiered it at the Fringe to great reviews. The following year, an Oscar winning producer in Hollywood contacted me and we co-wrote a wonderful screenplay. And, since Jerry's recent passing, there has been much renewed interest in the subject and show.
The one question nobody could even approach to answering was why and how did Jerry's sudden collapse affect me so much. As a human being, it was the scariest moment of my life. As a comedian it struck much deeper. I had to look very deep into myself to discover the surprising and revealing answer. The answer to that unanswerable question will surprise you and is the core of what this funny and sentimental show is all about. You'll laugh, you'll cry. You'll never forget what some have called "the greatest stand-up story of all time".
I Eat People Like YOU for Breakfast!
has played at The Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, The New End Theatre in London, The Attic Theatre in Los Angeles, The Santa Monica Playhouse, the Improv Lab in LA and The Marsh in San Franciso. A planned revival of the show is underway. Look out for Breakfast! in your town this year.